CSFF Tour – Captives Day 3

If you’ve been following along the past two days, you are brave. Now I can reveal my secrets.

I’ve been posting updates on the controversial book Captives by Jill Williamson. As you can see by the warning above, it is a dangerous book. According to Safe Lands Enforcers, it should be reported.

I’m here to tell you I’ve read it.

If you get caught and point back to me, I’ll deny it. But it isn’t what the warning says. It is something far different.

How Jill Williamson came by her knowledge is hidden, but she has told the story of the villagers taken into the Safe Lands in an engaging manner. You may only pick it up to flip through a couple of pages to see what the fuss is about. If you do, you’ll be hooked. Questions will form in your mind: Why does the Safe Lands need help with reproduction? Why was Omar willing to betray his people to the Safe Lands? What does Mason and Levi expect to accomplish by playing along with the authorities?

These two brothers, forced into leadership by the death of their village elders, are the lynchpin of the tale. Levi takes action and tries to break his family and friends out. Mason investigates, looking for a deeper truth that can shake the Safe Lands to its core.

A reader may be willing to shoot the traitor Omar themselves half-way through the book, but is everything as it seems on first glance?

Jill compares the simple life and faith of the outsiders with the flashy but empty diversions of the Safe Lands, offering a stark contrast between the two lives. Now that I have read this, I do not believe everything shown on the Wyndos, or every proclamation from the Enforcers.

I have questions, but the problem is this book is incomplete. It ends before all is revealed. Rumors of another tome, Outcasts, have been whispered from lips hidden in darkness. Is there more to the story of the Safe Lands and the outsiders, or has Jill been captured and liberated into Bliss early?

Now that I have seen this, I can’t stay quiet and pretend nothing has happened. Share this post. Tell people, no matter the risk to me. And more information can be found. Rebecca Luella Miller has been active in collecting all the myths and legends regarding Captives and the tale Jill Williamson exposes, so visit her site for the latest.

May you find what you’re looking for, searcher.

CSFF Tour – Captives, Day 2

You’ve come back? Brave…or foolish. Time will tell.

Then let this speculative tour continue:

This book Captives tells the story of the Safe Lands, whose majestic walls were built to protect from the plague that decimated the land that used to be America. Not everyone came into the walls, and they built small villages in the surrounding countryside.

How they survived is an enigma.

The Safe Lands deals with the thin plague through modern advances like skin creams and the latest cosmetics. Since there is no cure, people may at least  be made comfortable. The one consequence that can’t be bypassed is sterility. No babies can be brought to term by the infected.

If one is creative, then any situation can be circumvented. What if those outside the walls were invited in, if they were willing to contribute samples for conception?

And if they didn’t want to come voluntarily, how best to convince them otherwise?

There are whispers of three village brothers: Levi, the eventual town elder, Mason the healer, and Omar. Omar, the victim of bullying and ridicule from his father and Levi. Omar, the vehicle for getting his people into the Safe Lands.

She is wanted for questioning.

Once inside, the simple village folk should appreciate the amazing comforts of Wyndos to view any program or retrieve information, tattoos that can be changed and customized, and vapes that can deliver any sort of stimulant. As long as their women, uninfected, acted as surrogates. As long as the men did their part, the partnership should work.

However, many of the outsiders are willing to accept their place in the Safe Lands. Rumors of an underground resistance movement pass like fleeting shadows. If they were true, and if Levi and Mason could connect with these quixotic malcontents, then something truly amazing could happen.

Again, how the author Jill Williamson was able to come up with these details is an issue for much speculation. This will be discussed further tomorrow. And if you are willing to search for more about Captives, then the would be another place to start.
post of Rebecca Luella Miller

Like I said yesterday, don’t stay in one place too long. The Enforcers might be watching. If they are, then as they say in the Safe Lands:

Find pleasure in life.

CSFF Blog Tour – Captives Day 1

I need to know something. Where are you when you are reading this?

If you’re in a village like Glenrock or Jack’s Peak, you should be fine (although I’m wondering how you’re getting internet access).

You didn’t see this here…

However, if you’re in the Safe Lands, then read at your own risk. I can’t guarantee safety from the Enforcers. No one wants a mark against them. Not unless you want early liberation.

I warn you because there is a new book called Captives. It is written by a woman named Jill Williamson, who knows too much. How she learned these details will be the subject of much speculation. That is what this tour is about. The CSFF Tour likes the speculative. Together we must deduce why she is writing this tale and exposing things about the Safe Lands that may not be all that safe.

For now, keep yourself clean. You don’t want to end up with the plague. If someone offers you a vape, turn them down. You don’t want to get hooked.

To avoid detection, I’ll have to post over three days to explain. If you spend too much time at one place, you might get caught. So I advise you to check out the posts below for more information and to see if you can piece the puzzle together. If you’re truly brave, go to Jill Williamson’s website directly.

Now go! Stay safe.

Julie Bihn
Thomas Fletcher Booher
Keanan Brand
Beckie Burnham
Morgan L. Busse
Jeff Chapman
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
Victor Gentile
Timothy Hicks
Carol Keen
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Asha Marie Pena
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Jojo Sutis
Jessica Thomas
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Rachel Wyant

Good Reads

Are you done with your shopping? Need some last minute Christmas gift ideas? Never fear!

Here at Spoiled for the Ordinary we specialize in randomness, so a shopping guide is perfect.

I’ve seen a lot of pitches for giving a book this Christmas, to encourage the year-long gift of reading and learning. However, many people end up buying a series with long waiting times in between books. You don’t want your loved ones to be frustrated!

That’s why I’ve listed several series that have several books already published. Most are completed, so you can get the whole series, or at least have several books to read before you need another one – giving the author a chance to catch up to you.

Remember, if one book is a good gift, three or four are even better!
+++

If they like historical action with a dash of controversy a la “The DaVinci Code,” then consider The Gifted series by Lisa T. Bergren. Set in 1300’s Italy, a group called by God with special gifts must navigate the power plays of Catholic leadership and the darkness of Lord Abramo Amidei. I  recently picked up the first book The Begotten for a minute and ended up reading the whole book again. Engrossing – and much better than Dan Brown.

One of the most unique characters in literature right now is The Bug Man, Nick Polchak. He’s a forensic entomologist who is brilliant with science and clueless socially. Tim Downs writes this series and his sense of humor, suspenseful stories, and trademark ick factor of a CSI show makes each one a treat. Several can be read stand alone, but he is working them as a series with the last several ones.

How about a little more alternative history? Stephen Lawhead is one of the best mythological writers out there. He loves to tie into old tales and bring them to life in his fiction. In The Raven King series, he does his own take on Robin Hood, taking him from Sherwood Forest in England and settling him into the dark woods of medieval Wales. An excellent series.

A little more modern? Try the series of coming to age tales in the deep South starting in the 1940’s, only with a spiritual warfare twist: The Black or White Chronicles by John Aubrey Anderson. The first book, Abiding Darkness, made me laugh and cry on the same bus ride. The next two books were just as engaging. After a publisher change, I have started into book four, The Cool Woman.

Current trends support superhero powers – just look at the hit movies from the summer of 2011! If you’re looking for that in book form, you can’t beat Robin Parrish and his Dominion Trilogy. When the main character gets Shifted into a new, powerful body with amazing powers, he finds other people wearing similar rings as him, with varied superhuman abilities. He also finds a conspiracy tracing through time, waiting for the moment with he would arrive! Suspenseful to the nth degree, Robin writes a literary comic book that rocks.

Maybe they need a laugh. You can’t beat Rene Gutteridge for this, and her Occupational Hazards books will keep you in stitches. The Hazard family grew up homeschooled and helping their parents with a clown business. When the parents die in a tragic hot tub accident, the different siblings look to make their way in the world. Their innocent faith and honest integrity lead them to a news room, an airline spy, and working as an undercover cop with fits and giggles.

If they need a book to challenge their grey matter, then check out the Chronicles of Chaos series by John C. Wright. When the Titans of old are force to live in an English boarding house, they discover burgeoning powers that bend physics and mythology into a strange, wonderful blend. If you like quantum mechanics mixed with your Greek gods, then this is the series for you!

If you’re looking at the young adult set, my first and best recommendation is The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Three children wonder about their place in the world, living under the oppresion of the Fangs of Dang. If only they knew they were the fabled Jewels of Anniera, and that they were destined to rule a fabled land. If they don’t get eaten by toothy cows first. Whimsy, lyrical, touching, and just too much fun, these books are worth adult reading as well!

Last but not least, there’s a great suspense series set in my own state of Idaho that will keep you up at night. Brandilyn Collins specializes in Seatbelt Suspense (meaning you better hang on!). In her Kanner Lake series, a small Idaho mountain town and its quirky residents must confront evil when murder and mayhem shakes up their idyllic setting. These books defy being put down, and also make lack of sleep a distinct option (from staying up too late reading or being too scared to turn out the lights – both are known to happen).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this special service. May your Christmas be full of joy and your tree stocked with good reading for 2012!

Good Reads

Are you done with your shopping? Need some last minute Christmas gift ideas? Never fear!

Here at Spoiled for the Ordinary we specialize in randomness, so a shopping guide is perfect.

I’ve seen a lot of pitches for giving a book this Christmas, to encourage the year-long gift of reading and learning. However, many people end up buying a series with long waiting times in between books. You don’t want your loved ones to be frustrated!

That’s why I’ve listed several series that have several books already published. Most are completed, so you can get the whole series, or at least have several books to read before you need another one – giving the author a chance to catch up to you.

Remember, if one book is a good gift, three or four are even better!
+++

If they like historical action with a dash of controversy a la “The DaVinci Code,” then consider The Gifted series by Lisa T. Bergren. Set in 1300’s Italy, a group called by God with special gifts must navigate the power plays of Catholic leadership and the darkness of Lord Abramo Amidei. I  recently picked up the first book The Begotten for a minute and ended up reading the whole book again. Engrossing – and much better than Dan Brown.

One of the most unique characters in literature right now is The Bug Man, Nick Polchak. He’s a forensic entomologist who is brilliant with science and clueless socially. Tim Downs writes this series and his sense of humor, suspenseful stories, and trademark ick factor of a CSI show makes each one a treat. Several can be read stand alone, but he is working them as a series with the last several ones.

How about a little more alternative history? Stephen Lawhead is one of the best mythological writers out there. He loves to tie into old tales and bring them to life in his fiction. In The Raven King series, he does his own take on Robin Hood, taking him from Sherwood Forest in England and settling him into the dark woods of medieval Wales. An excellent series.

A little more modern? Try the series of coming to age tales in the deep South starting in the 1940’s, only with a spiritual warfare twist: The Black or White Chronicles by John Aubrey Anderson. The first book, Abiding Darkness, made me laugh and cry on the same bus ride. The next two books were just as engaging. After a publisher change, I have started into book four, The Cool Woman.

Current trends support superhero powers – just look at the hit movies from the summer of 2011! If you’re looking for that in book form, you can’t beat Robin Parrish and his Dominion Trilogy. When the main character gets Shifted into a new, powerful body with amazing powers, he finds other people wearing similar rings as him, with varied superhuman abilities. He also finds a conspiracy tracing through time, waiting for the moment with he would arrive! Suspenseful to the nth degree, Robin writes a literary comic book that rocks.

Maybe they need a laugh. You can’t beat Rene Gutteridge for this, and her Occupational Hazards books will keep you in stitches. The Hazard family grew up homeschooled and helping their parents with a clown business. When the parents die in a tragic hot tub accident, the different siblings look to make their way in the world. Their innocent faith and honest integrity lead them to a news room, an airline spy, and working as an undercover cop with fits and giggles.

If they need a book to challenge their grey matter, then check out the Chronicles of Chaos series by John C. Wright. When the Titans of old are force to live in an English boarding house, they discover burgeoning powers that bend physics and mythology into a strange, wonderful blend. If you like quantum mechanics mixed with your Greek gods, then this is the series for you!

If you’re looking at the young adult set, my first and best recommendation is The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Three children wonder about their place in the world, living under the oppresion of the Fangs of Dang. If only they knew they were the fabled Jewels of Anniera, and that they were destined to rule a fabled land. If they don’t get eaten by toothy cows first. Whimsy, lyrical, touching, and just too much fun, these books are worth adult reading as well!

Last but not least, there’s a great suspense series set in my own state of Idaho that will keep you up at night. Brandilyn Collins specializes in Seatbelt Suspense (meaning you better hang on!). In her Kanner Lake series, a small Idaho mountain town and its quirky residents must confront evil when murder and mayhem shakes up their idyllic setting. These books defy being put down, and also make lack of sleep a distinct option (from staying up too late reading or being too scared to turn out the lights – both are known to happen).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this special service. May your Christmas be full of joy and your tree stocked with good reading for 2012!

Reading Critically

It is always a good idea to read critically, even if what you read is something very well researched.

Like the Bible.

This is a little different from my usual topics, but I wanted to share something I saw today. I was reading in Proverbs today in the New International Version (NIV) on Bible Gateway. This is what Proverbs 10:22 says:
The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
   without painful toil for it.

I did a double take at that. That sounded like a prosperity gospel verse. I had never noticed it before, but I wondered about the translation of it.

I checked some other translations at Bible Gateway (very easy to do, that’s why I recommend it), and this is what I got:
It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it. (NASB)

The blessing of the LORD makes one rich,
      And He adds no sorrow with it. (NKJV)

The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich,
      and he adds no sorrow with it. (NLT)



The blessing of the LORD makes rich,
   and he adds no sorrow with it. (ESV – adds a note that an alternate reading is “
and toil adds nothing to it”)

I think the other readings matching up suggests that the NIV isn’t the best reading in this instance.

I don’t know Hebrew, but I wish I did so I could go to the original text. When we rely on translation, there is some interpretation involved by those doing the work. Every version is going to have verses where it the translation is skewed a little.

This doesn’t put doubt on the Bible. It is an issue of trying to convey thoughts in English (or whatever language) from Hebrew. What it tells us is that we need to read critically and realize that we shouldn’t rely on one translation when we study the Bible. The NIV version of 10:22 reads a lot differently to me than the others, and it didn’t match up with other parts of the Bible that speak of working hard. We don’t shut off our brains when we read anything, especially God’s Word. Yes, I believe in inspiration and the leading of the Holy Spirit, but He also gave us minds for a reason.

If you are looking for a good book on Bible study, my favorite is How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart.

Reading Critically

It is always a good idea to read critically, even if what you read is something very well researched.

Like the Bible.

This is a little different from my usual topics, but I wanted to share something I saw today. I was reading in Proverbs today in the New International Version (NIV) on Bible Gateway. This is what Proverbs 10:22 says:
The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
   without painful toil for it.

I did a double take at that. That sounded like a prosperity gospel verse. I had never noticed it before, but I wondered about the translation of it.

I checked some other translations at Bible Gateway (very easy to do, that’s why I recommend it), and this is what I got:
It is the blessing of the LORD that makes rich,
And He adds no sorrow to it. (NASB)

The blessing of the LORD makes one rich,
      And He adds no sorrow with it. (NKJV)

The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich,
      and he adds no sorrow with it. (NLT)



The blessing of the LORD makes rich,
   and he adds no sorrow with it. (ESV – adds a note that an alternate reading is “
and toil adds nothing to it”)

I think the other readings matching up suggests that the NIV isn’t the best reading in this instance.

I don’t know Hebrew, but I wish I did so I could go to the original text. When we rely on translation, there is some interpretation involved by those doing the work. Every version is going to have verses where it the translation is skewed a little.

This doesn’t put doubt on the Bible. It is an issue of trying to convey thoughts in English (or whatever language) from Hebrew. What it tells us is that we need to read critically and realize that we shouldn’t rely on one translation when we study the Bible. The NIV version of 10:22 reads a lot differently to me than the others, and it didn’t match up with other parts of the Bible that speak of working hard. We don’t shut off our brains when we read anything, especially God’s Word. Yes, I believe in inspiration and the leading of the Holy Spirit, but He also gave us minds for a reason.

If you are looking for a good book on Bible study, my favorite is How To Read The Bible For All Its Worth by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart.

CSFF Tour Day 3 – The Monster In The Hollows

Today is the last day of our feature of Andrew Peterson’s wonderful series The Wingfeather Saga and the latest book, The Monster In The Hollows.

What do I know though? I’m almost a greybeard.

How about we ask some of the intended audience?

Two thumbs up!

I have been reading this series to my boys Nathan (11) and Matthew (9 1/2) for three years (Caleb is starting to get into it, but he has the attention span of Kalmar on a bad day). They have eaten up the antics and adventures of the Florid Sword, Peet the Sock Man, Oskar N. Reteep,the Durgan Patrol and even Sara Cobbler (a girl!).

Nathan has recently read the first two books again, so he wrote up a summary of the series.
On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness:
“I like how they think they’re normal kids with a normal life, until everything changes in a few days. Then they find out Tink (Kalmar) is a king, Janner is a Throne Warden, and Leeli is a Song Maiden.”


 
North! Or Be Eaten
 From the Glipwood Forest to the Stranders, Dugtown, the Fork Factory, and the Ice Prairies there are challenges wherever the Wingfeathers go, and with all that excitement, why can’t you love this book!” (Why indeed?)

The Monster In The Hollows:
“The Wingfeathers think they can be safe in the Green Hollows but they immediately run into problems. When they seem to have a normal life, Janner finds out that his little brother is stealing animals and the Hollowsfolk aren’t happy. As they’re about to be hanged (as my brother and I go crazy), the surprise is actually the [removed for spoiler purposes!]”

Matthew focused on Monster.
“The Monster In The Hollows is really exciting. It has a lot of mystery, which I really like about it, and is one of the reasons it’s my favorite book in the Wingfeather Saga. I really like how it has a lot of cliffhangers, because my brother and I went coo-coo on a lot of the cliffhangers. I really also like the part where Janner found out that Kalmar was gone in the middle of the night and went and tracked him in the snow!

But my favorite part of all was when they figured out [a major spoiler]. I was really surprised because we thought he was [spoiler], so I was really shocked. I did also like the chapter “Artham and the Deeps of Throg”. So I am looking forward to another book.”

Ok, I had to provide a little redacting to not blow some great surprises. I hope the words of some true boys who enjoy good books will encourage you to pick this up, especially if you have kids. Even if you don’t, it is a great series to read for kids of any age!

See what else the inmates are saying for the CSFF Tour at Becky’s blog.

CSFF Tour Day 3 – The Monster In The Hollows

Today is the last day of our feature of Andrew Peterson’s wonderful series The Wingfeather Saga and the latest book, The Monster In The Hollows.

What do I know though? I’m almost a greybeard.

How about we ask some of the intended audience?

Two thumbs up!

I have been reading this series to my boys Nathan (11) and Matthew (9 1/2) for three years (Caleb is starting to get into it, but he has the attention span of Kalmar on a bad day). They have eaten up the antics and adventures of the Florid Sword, Peet the Sock Man, Oskar N. Reteep,the Durgan Patrol and even Sara Cobbler (a girl!).

Nathan has recently read the first two books again, so he wrote up a summary of the series.
On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness:
“I like how they think they’re normal kids with a normal life, until everything changes in a few days. Then they find out Tink (Kalmar) is a king, Janner is a Throne Warden, and Leeli is a Song Maiden.”


 
North! Or Be Eaten
 From the Glipwood Forest to the Stranders, Dugtown, the Fork Factory, and the Ice Prairies there are challenges wherever the Wingfeathers go, and with all that excitement, why can’t you love this book!” (Why indeed?)

The Monster In The Hollows:
“The Wingfeathers think they can be safe in the Green Hollows but they immediately run into problems. When they seem to have a normal life, Janner finds out that his little brother is stealing animals and the Hollowsfolk aren’t happy. As they’re about to be hanged (as my brother and I go crazy), the surprise is actually the [removed for spoiler purposes!]”

Matthew focused on Monster.
“The Monster In The Hollows is really exciting. It has a lot of mystery, which I really like about it, and is one of the reasons it’s my favorite book in the Wingfeather Saga. I really like how it has a lot of cliffhangers, because my brother and I went coo-coo on a lot of the cliffhangers. I really also like the part where Janner found out that Kalmar was gone in the middle of the night and went and tracked him in the snow!

But my favorite part of all was when they figured out [a major spoiler]. I was really surprised because we thought he was [spoiler], so I was really shocked. I did also like the chapter “Artham and the Deeps of Throg”. So I am looking forward to another book.”

Ok, I had to provide a little redacting to not blow some great surprises. I hope the words of some true boys who enjoy good books will encourage you to pick this up, especially if you have kids. Even if you don’t, it is a great series to read for kids of any age!

See what else the inmates are saying for the CSFF Tour at Becky’s blog.

CSFF Tour Day 2- The Monster In The Hollows

I’m a little behind in my touring, but for my second post for the September CSFF Tour featuring Andrew Peterson and his most recent book in the Wingfeather Saga, The Monster In The Hollows, I wanted to offer my review of the book. For my third post, I will have some different perspectives…

I can’t help but emphasize how neat a guy Andrew Peterson is. He wrote personal letters to my boys when they wrote to him about his last book. As Mharvi Reads shows in a note from Andrew, he takes his responsibility as a storyteller seriously (you really need to read that note!).

The care he takes shows once again in Monster. He touches the heart, excites with suspense, brings humor with sneakery and spitting contests, and keeps drawing the Wingfeather children closer to their destiny. He puts in small details that makes the fantasy world of Aerwiar complete.

The book, as its companions  On The Edge Of The Dark Sea Of Darkness and North! Or Be Eaten, is entertaining for adults and children. I love the deeper meanings that Andrew layers in, and my boys are on the edge of the sofa, taking in all the suspense and reacting to each cliffhanger chapter ending with “Noooooo!”

I don’t know how many people read to their children anymore, but this is a great series to read to your kids. I like doing voices, and there are many options for me to ham it up. For the Guildmadam Olumphia Groundwich, I felt her voice should really be done in a Monty Python “Spam” sketch type voice:

Any book that give you an excuse to use a Monty Python voice is a winner in my book.

The rest of the CSFF clan’s posts can be found in one location on Becky Miller’s blog. Check them out. My next post will have a special guest feature, so please stop by.